A veteran and dock worker who saved the life of an XL Bully just days before the ban on the breed has branded the government's plan a 'knee-jerk reaction' and said they have 'got it completely wrong'. 

Jay Lorenz, who lives in Felixstowe and works at the port, now has two dogs whom are categorised as XL Bully-type after rescuing two-year-old Coco the XL Bully from a rehoming centre in Hertfordshire on December 27, four days before the ban was implemented. 

Mr Lorenz's other dog, Bella the Staffy X whom he adopted from Battersea in 2018, also falls under the government's breed definition. 

From December 31, it has become against the law to sell, abandon, give away or breed an XL Bully dog, as well as to have one in public without a lead and a muzzle.

And from February 1 it will become a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption and adhere to strict rules around microchipping and neutering. 

Owners who decide not to keep their XL Bully dogs have been told they should take their dog to a vet to euthanise it, for which there will be a compensation scheme towards the cost. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Coco the XL BullyCoco the XL Bully (Image: Jay Lorenz)

Of the ban, Mr Lorenz said: "The government have got it completely wrong. It is a knee jerk reaction and they haven't given genuine owners and responsible owners enough time. 

"Any dog can attack, but what the press and the government don't release the attacks by other dogs in the country.

"I feel sometimes that I am getting judged for saving a life. I have been judged already when taking them out for a walk," he added.

The official Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs definition of an XL Bully dog is a large dog with a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting great strength and power for its size. 

An adult male has been defined as being over 20ins at the withers, while an adult female is described as being over 19ins at the withers. 

Amongst other things, the dogs are defined as having a level or scissor bite, heavy and muscular neck, stocky body, strong hindquarters, rounded feet and a glossy coat.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jay Lorenz with Bella and CocoJay Lorenz with Bella and Coco (Image: Jay Lorenz)

Mr Lorenz said: "Under the new legislation and rules, which is so far-fetched, Bella is now defined as being this type of dog as she has this stance and look.

"She comes under the category, but on paper she is a mongrel.

"I am now taking her out with a muzzle on, but she is grey and she is getting old so it is a bit soul destroying to do that to her."

Mr Lorenz said when he met Coco at the rescue centre she was a 'bouncing bundle of joy' and they introduced her to Bella on the day to ensure they would get along. 

He said he feels the government did not give rescue centres enough time to rehome the dogs before the ban was introduced.

"You can only do so much in such a short bit of time and the government only gave the rescue centres a short window," he said.

"Doing my bit to adopt Coco, it is my way of getting my point across to them [government]." 

Mr Lorenz said he is breaking the pair in gently with muzzle training and side by side walks. 

In recent days, several XL Bully dogs were put up for adoption locally, some just days before the deadline of December 31.

On December 30, it was revealed that all of the XL Bully dogs in the care of Suffolk Animal Rescue finding a home before deadline day.